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London 2012 Paralympic preview – five days to go!

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Newham welcomed the Olympics with open arms and now the stage is set for the borough to welcome the Paralympics to London in less than a week’s time.

The Games were an overwhelming success for Team GB as they picked up 65 medals – their highest tally since the 1908 Games – and our paralympians are looking to emulate that acheivement.

And Newham-based Jane Campbell will realise an 11-year dream at the London 2012 Paralympics when she takes to the table tennis arena at the ExCeL with a golden feeling behind her.

The 44-year-old made a vow to herself back in 2001 that she would represent Britain at the Paralympics, but she failed to qualify for the Beijing Games in 2008.

Still with London 2012 and the opportunity to fill host nation places, Campbell never doubted her ability to become a Paralympian, something she will realise next week.

Campbell does it by right at London 2012, competing in the women’s class 3 singles and the class 1-3 team competitions at the ExCeL – the latter with Sara Head.

As a team, Campbell and Head have won medals at competitions in Italy, China and Slovenia this year and she admits a similar sensation is brewing for the Paralympics.

“I set myself the goal of qualifying for a Paralympic Games in 2001, but I narrowly missed out on qualifying for Beijing,” said Campbell.

“But we knew the Games were coming to London afterwards and I knew it was a great opportunity to compete with Britain being able to use wild-cards.

“As it turned out, I qualified outright anyway so I really feel like I have won my place. I think the experience is going to be amazing.

“It’s really an incredible feeling, it’s hard to put it into words that I’ll be competing at a home Games.

“It’s my first time in a British team environment. Having everybody together makes me really proud to be British.”

Campbell is one of four females on the 13-strong British table tennis team for London 2012, selected in the initial wave of 10 back at the start of the year.

And Campbell admits her trips across the globe – she’s also won singles silver in Slovakia – have left her well placed to succeed.

“We have been taken away to training camps and gone to international competitions; the help we have received has really been a massive boost for us,” she added.

“All I can say about my expectations is that I hope to do my best; I don’t want to jinx anything. There’s no reason the Games shouldn’t go well, as long as I can give it my best.”

Lloyds TSB, proud supporter of ParalympicsGB and proud partner of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Get closer to the Games at lloydstsb.com/london2012

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